Warnings: Spoilers for Young Justice: Invasion, Doctor Who; Survivor Guilt, Time War Angst, crossover
Characters: Dick Grayson, Wally West, Bruce Wayne, Rick Grayson, Damian Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, M'gann Morzz, Connor Kent
Summary: Some birds are known to camouflage themselves among the young of another species. Time Lords are very similar in this respect, as Robin learns.
Ao3 | FF.net
M’gann can’t sit still. And, if they’re being honest, no one really has since she’d woken up from that nightmare the day before and made that chilling announcement.
Something is wrong, she’d said, Robin is in trouble.
“Are you sure?” Wally asks for what feels like the millionth time. Behind him, Garth and Tula watch the exchange patiently, while Zatanna silently frowns.
Connor closes his eyes, leaning back into his chair. “Rob’s coms went down sometime around the same time.”
Kaldur shakes his head slowly. “That means nothing. He’s gone off coms before without telling us.”
Wally resists the urge to squirm in anxiety as Connor states what they’re all thinking: “Not like this, he hasn’t.”
Tense silence settles over the room.
“We could call Batgirl,” Rocket suggests.
“Yes, thank you,” Wally says, throwing up his hands. “First sensible thing anyone’s said all day!”
Artemis sighs heavily, pulling herself up from her seat. “Guys, before we go bothering her, let’s give it a little more time. Knowing Gotham, he’s probably doing a sewer crawl.”
“He isn’t,” M’gann insists, shaking her head. Her hands ball into fists, her fingers clenching her skirt hard. “I felt him scream.”
Connor watches her, reading her posture, and draws his lips in a thin line: she’s much more shaken by this than anyone realizes. But, then, the nature of her connection to Robin has become more nuanced than theirs in many ways. He may be her boyfriend, but as far as she is concerned, Robin is her family and capable of commanding just as much of her attention.
“Psychic lifeforms like Robin and I… how to put it?” she’d explained once, not that long after Robin had changed. “We thrive on the presence of [whole-community-self/family-sibling-uni
At the time, he had been utterly confounded because she switched so fast between explaining in spoken words and telepathic meaning-feeling that he’d nearly gotten psychic whiplash from the effect. It took time to realize what she’d been trying so hard to say: Martians need more than just fleeting link-ups and psychic sharing to survive psychologically. They needed something to anchor them that the team, having no other psychics, could not provide. When Robin had changed, he became that anchor.
And not a moment too soon, Connor admits privately.
Before, M’gann had been slipping. He’d seen it – they all had – and just didn’t want to admit it. It was the proverbial elephant in the room and no one wanted to deal with it.
Now, it seems to have become something of a moot point anyway.
Connor glances balefully at the cave computer. Batgirl’s coms aren’t more than a button click away. Calling her would be the logical thing to do.
Then, he hears it: the sound of the Zeta Tube circuits switching on. He turns his head a half second before the portal begins to open and watches, waiting.
“Recognized: B-01 Robin, 02 Batman,” the computer announces.
For a moment, no one moves as the two figures come through. Batman is the same as ever, an impassive and imposing human figure in black and gray. Next to him is an unfamiliar young boy in an oversized red sweater and worn-out old jeans, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses. The boy’s dark hair is a curly mess, despite an obvious attempt to comb it.
In his ears, Connor can hear the familiar double-beat he’s come to identify as Robin’s, but the completely unfamiliar face throws him for a loop. What on earth? Could Robin shape shift like M’gann did?
“Rob!” M’gann shouts, pushing past him as she races forward. She throws her arms wide and scoops him into a fierce hug that the boy eagerly returns. “Oh, you had me so worried! I heard you screaming!”
Wally’s flat what goes unheeded and Connor can practically hear Kaldur’s eyebrows rocketing up in surprise. He definitely hears Zatanna drop like a stone into her seat.
“It’s really you, isn’t it?” Connor asks, after a moment. He points, indicating the face. “Is this a new… Time Lord thing?”
“Yep!” the boy, Robin, replies cheerfully as he pulls away from M’gann. “I regenerated. Wicked, right?”
Artemis stares. “You… kinda shrunk there, short stuff.”
“Shrunk? Artemis, he looks like he’s twelve!” Wally manages, gesturing wildly.
“Thirteen, actually,” Robin corrects him, gently. “Losing a few years here and there isn’t that bad for a first regeneration.”
“Yeah, but, Rob, what about your secret identity?” Wally demands, wheeling around to look at him. It’s obvious what this is really about from the look on Wally’s face and the way M’gann freezes, her hand automatically resting protectively on Robin’s shoulder. Wally’s known Robin the longest and, for a long time, was the only person on the whole team who knew that Robin was Dick Grayson. They’ve been friends for ages, even in their civilian identities.
It’s Batman, long since forgotten in the confusion, who answers. “It’s been taken care of. From now on, Robin will have a new secret identity.”
Wally’s face drains of color and he steps back. “But…”
“Two-Face killed the old me, Wally,” Robin admits quietly. “That me can’t come back. He’s still in here, in my head, but physically he’s gone. That’s what regeneration is, it’s what it does.”
Wally shakes his head in denial. “You can’t just – what – I don’t understand! How the hell are you supposed to make someone like – like that just disappear?”
Robin bows his head and then, slowly raises it, turning to M’gann.
M’gann cocks her head to the side, as if listening. She shifts, black racing up her changing legs and red splashing across her broadening torso as a cape lined in yellow begins to slide down from her shoulders. In the blink of an eye, she is gone and Robin, as he was just days ago, stands there before them.
For a moment, there is silence and then Wally is gone, the door on the other side of the room slamming shut in his wake. Rocket’s hand hovers over her mouth in silent horror. Nearby, Garth and Tula have gone utterly still, stunned completely speechless. Robin bows his head, his expression stormy as M’gann reverts to her preferred shape.
“I’ll talk to him,” Artemis says, closing her eyes and turning to leave.